apprentices - Small employer of the yr Grants Butchers, owner John Major, apprentice Lucy Rowlinson (1)

A local butcher and his apprentice were among the ‘stars’ to take top honours at an apprenticeship awards ceremony at Reaseheath College in Nantwich.

The event highlighted the achievement of 150 apprentices who had gained their qualifications at the specialist and technical college in the past year.

Grants Butchers in Minshall Vernon, Crewe, which is owned and run by butcher John Major, took the title of Small/Medium Employer of the Year while employee Lucy Rowlinson was awarded Best Butchery Apprentice (pictured).

John was recognised for the way he has embraced the newly structured apprenticeship standards and for hosting employer visits to share best practice.

Lucy, 19, of Sandbach, was honoured for becoming the first female butchery apprentice to receive the highest grade (Pass with Excellence) in the national FDQ Diploma in Professional Butchery Level 2.

Lucy is following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, who was a professional butcher.

She received her Reaseheath award for achieving academic excellence and for her dedication to developing skills in butchery and customer service.

Other principle winners included Intermediate Apprentice of the Year Adam Trigg, a shepherd at Wheatsheaf Farm, Congleton.

Adam, 18, who also took the Best Agriculture Apprentice award, studied for a full time Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture at Reaseheath before transferring onto his apprenticeship.

His commitment and passion for the animals in his care have been recognised by farmer Andrew Fithon and Adam now takes on a high level of responsibility for the farm management.

Advanced apprentice of the yr Ben Graham and Intermediate apprentice of the yr Adam Trigg (1)

Ben Graham and Adam Trigg

The Advanced Apprentice of the Year award went to Ben Graham, a joiner with Elliott Build and Glaze, Wirral.

Ben, 22, has trained with Reaseheath’s construction. Department for five years, progressing through Diploma Levels 1,2 and 3 in Joinery followed by Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships.

Best Engineering Apprentice was Liam Abbotts, 19, who works for Bombardier Transportation, Crewe. He was singled out for gaining a wide skills set and for taking on additional project work.

Bombardier currently has 18 apprentices in training with Reaseheath.

Jason Cheetham, Bombardier Training and Competence Assessor, said: “Liam is a very valuable team member who has always been keen to go the further mile in his training.”

Best Equine Apprentice went to Kelsie Heafey, 19, from Crewe, a trainee instructor at Oakhanger Riding and Pony Club Centre.

Her employer, Nathalie Ecclestone, had no hesitation in offering her an apprenticeship due to her attention to detail, outstanding customer service, passion and determination.

Other titles went to:
•Best Joinery Apprentice: Andrew Sharpes, 20, from Crewe, a skilled bench joiner who served his apprenticeship with Conran Homes, Knutsford.
•Best Bricklaying Apprentice: Guy Wilkinson, 20, who works for award winning bricklayers Faber Construction, Stafford, and steps up to supervisory level when required.
•Best Animal Care Apprentice: Aemillia Nicholson, 18, who works for Quintessential Quarters, Staffordshire.
•Best Plant Maintenance Apprentice: Alex Harley, 21, a plant technician for Wrightway Plant Glazing and Repairs, Ellesmere Port.
•Best Motor Vehicle Apprentice: Jack Elliot, 20, a motor vehicle technician for Tunnel Motors, Northwich.
•Best Vehicle Parts Apprentice: Harriet Simpson, 20, an assistant salesperson for CLAAS dealer RW Marsh in Retford, Nottinghamshire.
•Best Horticulture Apprentice: Richard Peate, 28, assistant greenkeeper at Oswestry Golf Club, who mentors less experienced apprentices.
•Large Employer of the Year: AP Webb Plant Hire, Stafford. The company, which specialises in plant hire and road-rail engineering, has 12 apprentices on a construction plant maintenance programme.

Reaseheath currently trains more than 1,000 apprentices in land-based industries and is working in partnership with hundreds of large, medium and small employers.

Find out more at

Best equine apprentice Kelsie Heafey (1)

Best equine apprentice Kelsie Heafey

Best apprentice bench joiner Andrew Sharpes (1)

Best apprentice bench joiner Andrew Sharpes

Best animal care apprentice Aemillia Nicholson (1)

Best animal care apprentice Aemillia Nicholson

Bombardier Jason Cheetham, Dean Almond, Liam Abbotts, Nick McStein, Daniel Neal, Aaron Wheawall, Russ Clarke (1)

Bombardier – Jason Cheetham, Dean Almond, Liam Abbotts, Nick McStein, Daniel Neal, Aaron Wheawall, Russ Clarke

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